Open Access Open Badges Research article

Contrasting effects of Deadend1 (Dnd1) gain and loss of function mutations on allelic inheritance, testicular cancer, and intestinal polyposis

Jennifer L Zechel1, Stephanie K Doerner1, Angela Lager1, Paul J Tesar1, Jason D Heaney12 and Joseph H Nadeau13*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland OH 44106, USA

2 Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA

3 Pacific Northwest Research Institute, 720 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Genetics 2013, 14:54  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-14-54

Published: 17 June 2013



Certain mutations in the Deadend1 (Dnd1) gene are the most potent modifiers of testicular germ cell tumor (TGCT) susceptibility in mice and rats. In the 129 family of mice, the Dnd1Ter mutation significantly increases occurrence of TGCT-affected males. To test the hypothesis that he Dnd1Ter allele is a loss-of-function mutation; we characterized the consequences of a genetically-engineered loss-of-function mutation in mice, and compared these results with those for Dnd1Ter.


We found that intercrossing Dnd1+/KO heterozygotes to generate a complete loss-of-function led to absence of Dnd1KO/KO homozygotes and significantly reduced numbers of Dnd1+/KO heterozygotes. Further crosses showed that Dnd1Ter partially rescues loss of Dnd1KO mice. We also found that loss of a single copy of Dnd1 in Dnd1KO/+ heterozygotes did not affect baseline occurrence of TGCT-affected males and that Dnd1Ter increased TGCT risk regardless whether the alternative allele was loss-of-function (Dnd1KO) or wild-type (Dnd1+). Finally, we found that the action of Dnd1Ter was not limited to testicular cancer, but also significantly increased polyp number and burden in the Apc+/Min model of intestinal polyposis.


These results show that Dnd1 is essential for normal allelic inheritance and that Dnd1Ter has a novel combination of functions that significantly increase risk for both testicular and intestinal cancer.

Testicular cancer; Allelic segregation; Intestinal neoplasia; DND1